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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Everything's Bigger in Texas

Shortly after my arrival here in Texas, I couldn't resist taking advantage of a warm, winter afternoon in a new place and I headed off for a walk.  Moving along at quite a clip to get past the houses, I was looking all around me - oh, there's a bird; ooh, a Tiger Swallowtail.....when down I went.

I'd twisted my ankle not once, but twice, and I could barely stagger over to the curb.  If someone had seen me and pulled over to ask me if I was all right, this one time I would have said, "No, I'm not".  Once the initial pain and shock subsided, I looked up the road to see whatever could have made me do that to myself.

And there it was.  Laying all by itself on the side of the road.  The biggest acorn I've ever laid eyes on.  I pocketed it, brought it home, and measured it.  It was 6.5" in diameter, and 3.5" from top to bottom.



Although the original culprit is not pictured, you can clearly see just how large these 'smaller' Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) acorns, or Mossycups, are.  We have Bur Oak in Maine, but the size of the acorns they produce is normal acorn size. 



"Bur Oak typically grows in the open, away from forest canopy. For this reason, it is an important tree on the eastern prairies, where it is often found near waterways in more forested areas, where there is a break in the canopy. It is also a fire-resistant tree, and possesses significant drought resistance by virtue of a long taproot. New trees may, after two to three years of growth, possess a 1–2 m deep taproot. The West Virginia state champion Bur Oak has a trunk diameter of almost 3 m (9 feet).


The acorns are the largest of any North American oak (thus the Latin species name macrocarpa--large fruit), and are an important wildlife food; American Black Bears sometimes tear off branches to get them. However, heavy nut crops are borne only every few years. In this strategy, known as masting, the large seed crop every few years overwhelms the ability of seed predators to eat the acorns, thus ensuring the survival of some seeds. Other wildlife, such as deer and porcupine, eat the leaves, twigs and bark. Cattle are heavy browsers in some areas. The bur oak is the only known foodplant of Bucculatrix recognita caterpillars." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_macrocarpa)


I'd be interested in knowing how large the acorns grow
in other parts of the country.
Does this support the myth that everything is bigger in Texas?

18 comments:

KimQuiltz said...

Holy Moley! What an acorn! I never heard of such a thing, must be the Texas air.

You okay?

swamp4me said...

That is an impressive nut. How big are the squirrels down there? ;-)

Beth said...

oh my goodness. We used to live in Texas and one time driving on U.S. 90 into west Texas we almost hit the most humongous vulture that I had ever seen--he would have totaled the car--things do grow big in Texas (maybe all that hot air!)

Linda said...

Oh my gosh! Tripped up by a nut! What a story that makes! But truly, I'm sorry to hear about your double-fall. Goodness. Hopefully you've learned "Don't mess with Texas," or when you do, take precautions!

Cindy said...

I DO believe everything is bigger in Texas - especially if that acorn is proof.

Linda Reeder said...

It's certainly bigger than our acorns!
I hope you are recovering from your 'trip'.

Stephanie said...

I know the raindrops and hailstones are bigger in Texas. Ohio acorns are quite small. Wonder is Texas size squirrels carry those acorns to their hiding places? I hope your ankle is mending.

Audrey said...

That is big!! We just have tiny little ones up here, but the season is really short too.

Rambling Woods said...

That is interesting..but I am sorry about your ankle...I hope it feels better soon....ice and rest...

Bob Bushell said...

Cor, that is a very very large Acorn.

Marvin said...

Big. Not quite as potentially lethal as a coconut, but you'd still know it if one of those fell off and hit you in the head.

NicoleB, Kuwait said...

Sweet goodness, those ARE huge!
Dang!

Carrie P. said...

HOpe your ankle is okay now. Those are awesome acorns. Yes, they are bigger in Texas. Ours are small here.

JSK said...

Seems like these acorns have a lot of potential for craft projects. The cap looks like a mop head of hair. Paint little faces on the acorns and you'd have cute little creatures.
They remind me of May Gibbs Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the Gumnut Babies that had eucalyptus seed caps.

JSK said...

Hi Karen. Thanks for stopping by my blog and the offer of bur acorns. I'm going to pass for the moment since my plate is overloaded. Thanks for the offer though; I may take you up on it some time in the future.

Kay said...

Ouch! sorry about your ankle!
The acorn is the biggest I've ever heard of. I've seen quarter size ones in Missouri--but those are amazing. We don't have burr oaks down here--only live oaks with small acorns. I'd hate to see one of our Golden-fronted Woodpeckers try to carry one of those!
Kay

Anonymous said...

In NE OK on the north end of Oolgah Lake there is a huge grove of Burr Oak trees that are along Kester Creek. The acorns are not 6 1/2". However, 4" Burr Acorns are common.

Someone was trying to illegally cut some of these down for lumber on Corps land. We counted the rings on one of the fallen Burr Oaks. The number of rings was 277. We assumed the tree was 277 years old!

Tim Jet said...

The acorns are the largest of any North American oak (thus the Latin species name macrocarpa--large fruit), and are an important wildlife food;Fast Growing Tree Nursery